Trump’s Latest Attacks on Sanctuary Cities

It is no secret that Donald Trump has been keen to make it harder for non-US citizens to move to the US, with particular countries targeted for the travel ban. Sanctuary cities have also been targeted, with Trump trying to prevent funding for sanctuary jurisdictions. The idea of a sanctuary city is to protect residents by not honouring requests to detain people.

San Francisco is one of the sanctuary cities and their Mayor is committed to helping to protect people by providing legal services for people who are requested to be detained by ICE. New York’s governor has recently been at loggerheads with the Department of Homeland Security. In NYC a state law stops DHS from receiving information stored in Department of Motor Vehicles databases and this is being challenged.

The fight between NY and the DHS started off in December when NY’s DMV stopped allowing ICE and Customs and Border Protection access to their database. NY said they did this to protect residents from deportation, whilst law enforcers claim that access to the databases is critical to their work on vehicle crime.

The DHS has now barred residents of NYC joining Trusted Traveller Programs in one of their retaliations. The fight against undocumented immigrants remains one of Trump’s biggest priorities and is just one area of his immigration approaches that have been contested by local states. Immigration enforcement is a major issue of contention right now across the US and whilst Trump remains president, it looks like even stronger rules could be introduced. If Trump can’t push through the defunding of sanctuary cities, there are other tactics that he can use to reduce funding.

Most of the large cities in the US have sanctuary policies and the local leaders argue that the policies help to make the state safer, as undocumented immigrants are more likely to report crimes, if they know they are not in danger of being deported.

Trump sends more resources to fight sanctuary cities

The Trump administration has stepped up efforts to counteract the work of the sanctuary cities with a recent announcement that 100 border control agents will be sent to 10 sanctuary cities. The officers will be working with the local ICE officers with immigration arrests. Customs and Border Protection have said that this move is essential "in order to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security."

It is unclear how much impact this move to target sanctuary cities will have but it is an unusual step and many people are worried that it could lead to mass deportations from these cities.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlow Gimenez was the first local leader to show support for Trump’s recent call for county jails to cooperate with federal detainer requests, which Trump responded to via his Twitter account, stating that the Mayor made the right decision. Miami-Dade had never been declared as a sanctuary but had historically refused ICE requests, based on the costs involved in detaining the affected inmates.

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